Soak up bath­room luxe, with­out reser­va­tions

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Kim Cook

What makes a great bath­room, one per­fect for prep­ping and primp­ing?

A well- con­sid­ered com­bi­na­tion of fix­tures, light­ing and ameni­ties— the kind we of­ten first ex­pe­ri­ence in a re­ally nice ho­tel.

“Bath­rooms are the most pri­vate parts of our homes. They’re also the most pri­vate parts of ho­tels, our ‘ homes away from home,’ ” says Los An­ge­les au­thor An­neli Ru­fus, who has writ­ten travel books. It’s the sense of a space that’s ex­clu­sively ours that’s ap­peal­ing, she says, en­hanced by fit­tings and fluffy tow­els.

We of­ten want to re- cre­ate that lux­ury- ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence when we re­turn home, says Paul Flow­ers, chief de­sign of­fi­cer for Lixil, the Tokyo- based par­ent com­pany of higher- end, bath- prod­uct brands such as DXV and Grohe. The bath­room, he says, “is mov­ing from a ra­tio­nal space for clean­ing and groom­ing into an emo­tional space for re­lax­ation and con­tem­pla­tion.”

Some ways to bring the ho­tel­style bath­room home:

Light the way

Flick­ing on that ho­tel bath­room light switch is of­ten­where the magic be­gins: Com­plex­ions look health­ier, skin smoother.

“Typ­i­cally, the best type of light­ing is lay­ered, be­cause it ad­dresses the bath­room’s dif­fer­ent Philippe Starck’s Cape Cod van­ity for Du­ravit evokes an easy yet el­e­gant New Eng­land coastal vibe. Pro­vided by Du­ravit light­ing needs,” says in­te­rior de­signer Jes­sica Shankman of Lau­rel & Wolf in West Hol­ly­wood, Calif.

“I al­ways rec­om­mend in­stalling a dim­mer to con­trol the light out­put and cre­ate a dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere in the room,” she says. That­might mean bright lightswhen you get dressed, for in­stance, and soft light­ing­while you soak in the tub.

For makeup ap­pli­ca­tion, task light­ing is your best friend, she says: “I sug­gest mount­ing wall sconces on ei­ther side of the mir­ror to pro­vide shadow- free light­ing on the face.”

LED light­ing has had a big im­pact on bath de­sign. Old­school van­ity light­ing of­ten in­volved harsh flu­o­res­cents or in­tru­sive mar­quee lights. Now, the light­ing can be em­bed­ded in the mir­ror it­self, and the re­flec­tion can be warm and flat­ter­ing. Du­ravit’s L- Cube mir­ror, for in­stance, is a frame of LED light that can be dimmed with a touch of the hand. ( du­ravit. us)

LEDs have also given prod­uct de­sign­ers new places to put light­ing, such as un­der toi­let­seat rims and around the perime­ters of spa tubs.

In some cases, the lights change color, so the mood of the room can be ad­justed, to pro­vide a sooth­ing blue, say, or a zesty yel­low/ or­ange glow. ( paul­mann. com)

Or opt for a color- chang­ing Ho­telSpa or DreamSpa shower head from ipShower, with col­ors that shift de­pend­ing on the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture. ( ip­show­ers. com)

De­sign­ers are also pulling in light­ing from other rooms— such as chan­de­liers and pen­dants— to amp up the drama and luxe look in a bath­room.

Geared up

High tech and per­son­al­iza­tion con­tinue to move into the bath­room.

Amer­i­can Stan­dard’s SpaLet toi­let/ bidet by DXV fea­tures a heated seat, tem­per­a­ture- con­trolled bidet, au­to­mated flush, and a seat that opens and closes via sen­sor. ( dxv. com)

Blue­tooth- en­abled sound sys­tems and van­ity mir­rors em­bed­ded with TVs bring sound­tracks and pro­grams into the bathing en­vi­ron­ment. ( zadroinc. com; seura. com)

And Broan-NuTone’s Pre­mium Hu­mid­ity Sens­ing Con­trol mon­i­tors mois­ture lev­els and au­to­mat­i­cally turns on the fan be­fore the mir­rors steam up. ( broan. com)

Warm and wel­com­ing

Sheila Sch­mitz, editor at the homes web­site Houzz. com, sees a trend to­ward treat­ing the bath­room as more of a “liv­ing room.”

“Our users love it when they see a bath­room warmed up with vin­tage and fur­ni­ture- like de­tails,” she says. “Con­sole ta­bles, com­fort­able chairs, and new or re­pur­posed dressers make a bath­room feel more like a liv­ing space than just a place to wash up.”

Chameleon Con­cepts of­fers be­spoke­wall- mounted van­i­ties with or with­out dec­o­ra­tive legs. Se­lect your style and fin­ish, and then add a front panel insert such as pat­terned pa­per, faux leather, mo­saic or mar­ble .( chameleon con­cepts. com)

Philippe Starck’s Cape Cod van­ity fea­tures a ves­sel sink perched on a wal­nut, oak or beech wood slab, hewn to re­sem­ble drift­wood. A co­or­di­nat­ing free- stand­ing bath­tub is crafted of a new ma­te­rial with a satin fin­ish and soft feel. ( du­ravit. us)

Un­du­lat­ing curves on the Onda col­lec­tion of van­i­ties and counter basins have a sen­su­ous and play­ful vibe .( hast­ings tile and bath. com)

De­signer brand Axor teamed up with Ja­panese de­sign stu­dio Nendo to cre­ate the Lam­pShower, which fea­tures an LED light en­cased in a brass show­er­head that looks like a lamp­shade. ( hans­grohe- usa. com)

You can add jewel- box drama or re­sort- style am­bi­ence to a bath­room with art deco, trop­i­cal or geo­met­ric wall­pa­pers, while aro­mather­apy dif­fusers and live plants gen­er­ate a spa- like feel. Cre­ate a Zen vibe us­ing a fea­ture­wall of grass­cloth, stone or wood, along with min­i­mal­ist wall- mounted fit­tings. Built- in cab­i­netry can add to the sense of calm by let­ting you stowaway the clut­ter of toi­letries.

This free- stand­ing tub, part of Philippe Starck’s Cape Cod col­lec­tion for Du­ravit, is made of a newly de­vel­oped ma­te­rial that has a soft feel that’s warm to the touch. Pro­vided by Du­ravit

The Onda Van­ity’s curves bring a so­phis­ti­cated sil­hou­ette to the bath. Pro­vided by Hast­ings Tile & Bath

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